Today, April 10, the second grade enjoyed a memorable “Day in Ghana” presented by Joe and Vida Galeota. The presenters took the children on an imaginary day trip to Aburi, Ghana, the town in which Miss Vida grew up. It is located in the mountains outside of the capital city, Accra.
We learned that Ghana has 40 languages and 209 dialects across its many regions, and that the weather is very hot. There is no electricity or running water in Miss Vida’s town, so the children’s chores include collecting water from the river in giant bowls made of calabash, a gourd much like a pumpkin. Children also help care for baby siblings and sweep the house early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Many parents could not afford to pay the school fees or for books, so Miss Vida went to school under a mango tree, where the children learned by repeating the lessons in song. Our students learned to count to ten and to sing the ABC song accompanied by the wood-carved hand drum that Mr. Joe brought along to share.
We learned that Ghanaian children’s first names are based on the day they were born. So, for example, the “baby” that Miss Vida brought to show the class was a boy named Kofi because he was born on a Friday. A girl born on a Friday would be called Afua. Mr. Joe was born on a Sunday, so his Ghanaian name is Kwame.
The students had a chance to “wear” the baby on their backs. They also had the opportunity to dress in kente cloth, the cloth of Ghanaian royalty, and to sit on a “gold” throne. The visit to Ghana concluded with the children learning a high-energy Ghanaian dance that had everyone on their feet.
Questions to ask your child:
1) How do they carry babies in Ghana? How do they carry water?
2) Why do Ghanaians kneel or bow to guests?
3) What are the steps to the dance you learned? Demonstrate them!
Answers: 1) On their backs; on their heads 2) It is a sign of respect. 3) Enjoy the dance!